Have you been thinking about how much should you spend on client gifts this holiday season and beyond? We've discovered it depends on two things:
1. The type of client you have: Different clients in different industries will interpret business gifts differently. On the low-side, service providers can often suffice with gifts of $20 gift cards. On the high-end, a lawyer may send a gift basket worth $200 or sporting tickets worth $1,000.
2. What does the client gift mean: If you’re looking for a token corporate gift, anything in the $35-50 range will suffice. If the relationship is important, we recommend $50-$75, especially if it's a holiday gift. If this is a personal relationship, you’ll likely want to add a little bit of personalization, so you’re looking for $65-$95.
This is not a wedding gift or birthday gift, so we wanted to make sure you understood what a thoughtful gift might mean and how much to spend. We also include some do's and don'ts when you're thinking about your holiday budget.
Are you a small business? Don't fret, these gifts ALWAYS pay off in the long run, because this is one of the few ways you can leave a lasting impression. (plus you can take the deduction!)
Let’s dive deeper into these two areas:
The Type of Client You Have
Different types of clients require different types of client gifts. Corporate gift-giving isn't easy, so we cover a few of the most common holiday industries we see.
For clients that work in finance, or are your financial clients, we recommend spending a minimum of $50 per client. Over the years, we’ve found that anything under $50 means the client isn’t worth much. They’re probably not worth even buying a gift.
That’s right, a simple email is often more valuable than sending something chinzy that’s less than $50. We can give you plenty of bad ideas: stress balls, ballpoint pens, notepads, and magnets. We can also give you some great ideas for gifts just above $50: gift baskets, chocolate, and small desserts.
The folks that spend more than $80 are likely to have a more personal relationship, such as a private wealth client or a personal banker. The more money under management, the more personal the gift. A good idea for gifts in insurance sales, for example, like State Farm, tend to have more commodity-like clients, and tend to often stick to $50 unless the sales are large, like workplace insurance. If it's a holiday gift, take the high range of the above figures.
For any type of manufacturing, construction, or physical types of enterprises, such as logistics and distribution, we recommend a minimum price point of $65. We found that because these are long sales cycles and switching costs are relatively easy, but expensive, a $65 dollar gift is the right price point to send a gift.
Anything over $125 is TOO MUCH. That’s right, we think you can actually spend too much in this sector and be obnoxious. So we recommend $65-$125. If it's the holiday season, take the mid-range of the above range.
How much should you spend on client gifts? For services, there are a wide range of service clients, so we’ll try to talk about the big ones.
- Management: Management services such as a facility management service - $50-$75
- Software: Software services such as a cloud-based CRM platform - $75-$150
- Professional Services: Professional services such as legal or financial advice - $70-$175
- Consulting: Any time anyone performs work as a service. For example, an AI consultant who develops software for a firm based on a contract - $50-$175
- Training: Training services such as onsite defensive computing training - $100-$75
- Travel: Like a Travel Agent - $50-$75
- Events: Event services such as a company conference or off-site or coordinating a wedding - $50-$75
- Food: Food services that target business customers such as an office catering service - $50-$75
- Marketing: Marketing services including advertising, promotion and sales outsourcing - $100-$200
- Research: Research such as competitive intelligence - $50-$75
- Media: Media services such as video or photo shoot for a corporate message - $50-$75
- Distribution: Distribution services such as an import/export service in a market outside of the US or in a new market - $80-$100
- Supply: Supply related services such as a business-to-business e-commerce site for employee relationship - $150-$75
- Printing: Production of small runs of things such as a product prototype - $50-$75
- Engineering: Services such as a firm engineering for a new building - $150-$300
- Design: Design services such as a graphics design firm that produces logos, signs, packaging, publications and web graphics for business customers - $75-$100
- Real Estate: Personal and Corporate Real Estate Gifts - $50-$150
- Quality of Life: Services related to employee quality of life such as medical, daycare and fitness services - $50-$75
- Logistics: Services such as a warehouse or transportation service - $150-$75
- Waste Management: Waste management such as recycling of cardboard - $50-$75
For many salespeople, how much to spend on a client is a perennial problem. The thing we’d emphasize the most is to think about how you make your gift personal. We hear from many recipients that the salespeople that sent gifts with personal touches meant more than how much they spent. Given that, the typical gift for sales is a little bit a function of profit/revenue.
Annual Recurring Revenue and how much to spend on a client:
- $500 - $1000 = $50
- $1000 - $10K = $100
- $10K - $100K = $125
- $100K - $1MM = $200
Buying an executive a gift is tough and knowing how much to spend is tough as well. We recommend a minimum of $80 for any C-level executive. A bottle of wine is very cliche. So this will likely be an expensive gift, but worth it because it's thoughtful and will likely leave a lasting impression. Usually an average of $115 is spent, and of course the sky is the limit, but most people don’t spend more than $175 since it becomes obnoxious at that point.
What You Want the Gift to Mean to the Client
Thank you for your business relationship this year: For gifts that are simple thank yous, we find that most people send a token $35-$65 a year.
Please send me your referrals: If you’re looking for your clients to send you referrals, don’t forget to ask them! But also make sure you don’t go cheap on your gift. For these types of gifts, we recommend spending $70 minimum.
Looking forward to your business next year: Spend about $50. These guys are locked in.
Your relationship with me is personal and means a lot: You’ll be looking to spend anywhere from $65-$95 with clients on the lower end and $120-$150 on the higher end.
So many great corporate ideas to choose from for a corporate gift. Let us know your favorite in the comments below!